Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | March 9, 2008

Lord’s Day Quote: Francis Turretin

Sixth, the work of our conversion is a creation, resurrection, regeneration and the production of a new heart by which God not only gently persuades but powerfully effects in us to will and to do.  As, however, man can contribute nothing to his creation, resurrection and regeneration, so neither can the sinner contribute anything to his conversion.  He ought rather to ascribe it wholly to the grace of God.  Nor is it an objection that the same action  ascribed to God in conversion is often also enjoined upon man (as when we are commanded to rise and make for ourselves a new heart Ezk 18:31; Eph 5:14).  We answer that although conversion is enjoined upon us by God as a duty owed to him, it does not cease on that account to be promised as a gift by God in the covenant of grace; so that as it were a two fold conversion must be conceived (or rather two parts of one conversion) – one brought about by God, the other by man (of which the church speaks, “Turn thou us unto thee, and we shall be turned,” Lam 5:21).  The former precedes, the latter follows; that is always ascribed to God (not to man), this always to man, never to God .  In the former, the will is acted upon and does not act; in the latter, it is acted upon and acts (or itself reacts) when first acted upon by God.  In the first, the grace of God is called “operating” because it alone operates; in the second, “cooperating” because now it operates not only in the will but with it.  In the first, the will is a passive subject, but both capacious and conscious of grace; in the second, it is not only a capacious subject, but also a fit and living instrument of divine grace, being its “handmaid” (as Augustine frequently terms it) and an animated organ (organon empsychon).  These words of Bernard apply here: “What does the free will do? I answer briefly, It is saved.  This work cannot be accomplished without two: one by whom it is done, the other in whom it is done; God the author of salvation; the free will only capacious of it. (Tractatus de Gratia et Libero Arbitrio).  And these of Hugo St. Victor:  “Repairing grace breathes first into the free will that it may exist, then inspires it that it may be moved; first it works it then through it” (On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith).

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology – Tenth Topic QIV.XXI



  1. Yes, yes and yes!

  2. Michael,

    I take it you like Francis Turretin…thanks for stopping in.


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